People & Culture
Introduction | Tribes |
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Population and Distribution
The Deang ethnic group has a population of 17,935 that is widely distributed over a vast area of 30,000 square kilometers, mixing with the Dai, Jingpo, Va and other ethnic groups. Most Deang people live in Luxi County in Dehong Dai-Jingpo Autonomous Preference and in Zhenkang County in Lincang Preference in Yunnan Province. Some are also scattered in Yingjiang, Ruili, Longchuan, Baoshan, Lianghe, Longlin and other counties in Yunnan.
Deang ethnic group is one of the oldest tribes living in the south-west frontier region. They date back to the ancient 'Pu' people who lived in the Nujiang River region in the second century. In the Sui (581-618) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties, they were called 'mangman' (mang barbarians), 'puziman' (puzi barbarians), etc. They successively submitted to the Han (206 BC-220 AD), Jin (265-420) Dynasties and Nanzhou and Dali kingdoms. After the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), they were brought under the control of the Dai ethnic group.
Historically, at their peak, the Deang ethnic group dominated western Yunnan. This was especially during the 12th to 15th centuries, when the Gold Teeth Kingdom founded by their ancestors held sway over the whole region. Later, however, the Deang ethnic group gradually went into decline and was exploited and oppressed by other tribes. After the founding of PRC in 1949, they were named the Benglong ethnic group and in 1985, officially renamed the Deang ethnic group at the request of the Deang people.
Deang people have their own language, which belongs to the Wa-Ang branch of the Mon-Khmer group of the Austroasiatic language family. Most Deang people can speak Chinese and languages of Dai and Jingpo. The Deang people have no written script of their own and Chinese is widely used.edit
The Deangs believe in Hinayana Buddhism and their daily life is closely connected to Buddhism. Most boys will become monks and study Buddhist scriptures in the temples after they reach the age of ten. Except for a few boys who are raised to the rank of Buddha, most will resume their secular life several years later.
Deang people mainly live on agriculture. The areas they inhabit are endowed with fertile land and a mild climate. The major crops include rice, corn, buckwheat, potato as well as walnuts and jute. Deang people are particularly adept at cultivating tea, while some engage in fishing and hunting. Handcrafts such as bamboo weaving are also undertaken.
Covered with primitive forest, these areas are abundant with precious Chinese medicinal materials such as fritillary, coptia, snow lotus, cordyceps sinensis, angelica sinensis, poria cocos, musk and bear gall. In addition, wild animals such as the wild ox, flying squirrels and many varieties of rare birds and animals are also found there.
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